PUNISH THOSE WHO ARE PLAYING WITH THE LIVES OF THEIR KIDS.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Territorial dispute: Villagers refuse polio drops in Charsadda
India has strongly opposed foreign military intervention in Syria, stressing the need for a peaceful solution to the crisis in the Arab state with the assistance of the international community. Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said on Saturday that his country supports the six-point peace plan proposed by the outgoing UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan for a peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis, Syria’s state-run SANA news agency reported. He also expressed New Delhi’s serious concern over the ongoing violence in Syria. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned the West not to take unilateral action on Syria, saying that Russia and China agree that measures violating international law and the United Nations charter are impermissible. Russia and China base their diplomatic cooperation on "the need to strictly adhere to the norms of international law and the principles contained in the UN Charter, and not to allow their violation," Lavrov said at a meeting with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo on August 21. Moscow and Beijing have opposed military intervention in Syria, and have vetoed three UN Security Council resolutions backed by Western and certain Arab states against the Syrian government. Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011, with many people, including large number of security forces, killed in the turmoil. While the West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of the killings, Damascus blames outlaws, saboteurs and insurgents for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.
The Express TribuneWith Lashker-e-Islam’s (LI) influence waning in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), the locally-brewed liquor business is experiencing a revival in the province. At their peak, LI banned the sale of locally-brewed liquor or tharra (moonshine) in Khyber Agency’s Bara bazaar – the largest traditional market in the region. The banned outfit fined drug dealers and brewery owners millions of rupees, and shut down shops selling local and foreign alcohol. According to Sheena Gul Afridi*, a Levies force constable in Bara, the local breweries shifted to Jamrud five years ago, away from LI controlled areas. “There are three famous brands of tharra in Khyber Agency. They sell it in plastic bags, sometimes placing a leaf inside the bag as a trademark,” he explained. The constable said the liquor was brewed from fruits and considered good for health. Barakat*, an Afghan national, owns a moonshine distillery in the Khyber Agency’s Ghundi area. He says his liquor is brewed from jaggery or gur, a sweet product made from concentrated sugar-cane juice. While a number of incidents of people dying after consuming moonshine have been reported over the past few years, Barakat denied his product being responsible for any fatalities, saying he had been in the business for 15 years. He admitted, however, that there were new distilleries which did not follow correct procedures while making moonshine. This, he said, resulted in a poisonous concoction which could blind and kill a person within hours. Most of the liquor produced in the Khyber Agency is smuggled to Peshawar. A plastic bag of tharra can be bought for as much as Rs300-800. A dealer in Peshawar’s Kharkhano market said that different colours and flavours could be added to it in order to make different varieties. “It is also sold in bottles of foreign liquor brands bought from Kabari bazaar,” he said. In Peshawar, tharra is mainly consumed by Christian and Hindu communities. Well known markets for the business are situated in areas mainly inhabited by Christians and Hindus. A representative of the Hindu community said that the former Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal government had cancelled all permits to sell liquor in the area, including that of Muree Brewery. “Members of the community were forced to look for other alternatives, such as tharra,” he said. Most of the deaths caused by improperly brewed moonshine occur in areas of the city where Hindus and Christians live. “The only way to eliminate moonshine is to allow legal and licensed alcoholic drinks to be sold,” he concluded.
President distributed cheques‚ debit cards among women under BISP. Addressing on the occasion he said Benazir Income Support Programme is flagship programme for reducing poverty and empowering women. President Asif Ali Zardari says Benazir Income Support Programme is flagship programme for reducing poverty and empowering women. He was addressing Waseela-e-Haq draws and cheques distribution ceremony under Benazir Income Support Programme in Islamabad on Tuesday afternoon. The President said the programme has progressed and is becoming a comprehensive social safety net. He said it has attracted worldwide appreciation for its transparency‚ objectivity and efficiency. Asif Ali Zardari said the PPP believes in politics of reconciliation and it promoted the culture of tolerance and accommodation during the last four years. The President distributed cheques and Debit Cards among women under Benazir Income Support Programme. Chairperson of the programme Farzana Raja said seven million families are the beneficiaries of the programme. She said in collaboration with Polio teams‚ polio drops were administered to over one hundred and fifty thousand children in FATA. She said 1.5 million people have received Benazir Debit Cards.
The Baloch HalThe sixth anniversary of former Balochistan governor and chief minister Nawab Mohammad Akbar Bugti is being celebrated across Balochistan in the midst of calls for shutter down and wheel jam strikes. Every year, this day is marked amid extraordinary security arrangements. The admirers of the Nawab take out protest rallies not only to condemn the brutal killing but also vent their frustration over the federal government’s inability to punish those elements in the army and the federal government responsible for the killing of a formerly elected politician. Hence, August 26 has grown much bigger than a usual day on which a political figure is remembered and paid tribute by his supporters. For the Baloch, this day holds enormous significance. They view it as the day when trust between the Center and the province was breached and a frustrated autocratic regime proceeded with a military solution to a problem which could otherwise be resolved through political dialogue. Nawab Bugti’s legacy is far different from his original political career. A staunch federalist through most of his career, the Nawab has today emerged as the greatest icon of the Baloch liberation movement for statehood. Balochi language musicians sing the praises of his bravery and steadfastness, poets compose poetry on his heroism and vendors sell his large-size posters in the streets of Balochistan. It is ironic that neither the Baloch nationalists nor Islamabad could fully understand the Nawab’s politics. Both sides take extreme, and oftentimes unrealistic, positions while interpreting Bugti’s political life. For some, he is an unquestionable hero and for the rest he is known solely as a tyrant tribal chief who opposed development of his own area and tribesmen. Nobody is willing to admit that he was a human being like rest of us who made mistakes but also offered invaluable contributions to the society. For instance, policymakers in Islamabad tend to forget the part of the history when the Nawab was Pakistan’s loyal governor in Balochistan during a military operation in 1970s that brutally killed thousands of innocent Baloch people. He remained committed to Pakistani politics also by serving as the Chief Minister of the province in order to support the political process. There was no reason why a man so supportive of Pakistani policies in Balochistan should be killed so roughly at the age of seventy-nine. For the Baloch nationalists, it is unacceptable to concede that Nawab Bugti was actually never a part of the actual Baloch nationalistic troika (comprising of Sardar Khair Baksh Marri, Sardar Attaullah Mengal and Mir Ghaus Baksh Bizenjo). In his native Dera Bugti district, he would even cause problems for local students who wanted to open a chapter of the Baloch Students Organization (B.S.O.) He did not want to break Pakistan to create an independent Balochistan nor did he publicly champion such aspirations. He was not surrounded by such visionary nationalists who would dream of an independent Balochistan. In Balochistan, all four members of the Balochistan Assembly from the Nawab’s Jamori Watan Party (J.W.P) voted for Jam Mohammad Yousaf of the pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League to become the chief minister of Balochistan. J.W.P.’s ideological foundations were so shallow that none of its member of the provincial assembly (M.P.A.) resigned against the Nawab’s killing. Instead, his son-in-law and the Party’s secretary general, Agha Shahid Bugti, continued to retain his Senate seat until 2012 while the Nawab’s official spokesman and the J.W.P. secretary information Amanullah Kanrani got so close to the ruling establishment that he was eventually promoted as Balochistan’s current Advocate General. In 2004, the Nawab continued to support the parliamentary committee on Balochistan headed by Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed. The Nawab delightedly agreed to negotiate with the then caretaker prime minister Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain and Mushahid Hussain Syed to figure out a peaceful solution to the Balochistan conflict. At one point, he expressed so much confidence in the Committee that he nominated three non-Baloch people, columnists Ayaz Amir, (late) Irshad Ahmed Haqqani and Mushahid Hussain Syed, ‘to make whatever decision they think was best in the interest of Balochistan.’ By that time, the Four-Party Baloch National Alliance (Comprising of the Jamori Watan Party, Balochistan National Party, the National Party and the Haq-e-Tawar Party), treated the Nawab as the undisputed negotiator of the Baloch people and they did not object to his proposal. General Musharraf, on his part, did not encourage or facilitate a political approach toward the problem and ordered Bugti’s killing. Islamabad did not officially regret killing Bugti. The Nawab’s dead body was further humiliated as it was handed over to his tribal opponents rather than his family. The Nawab’s family was not allowed to attend his funeral nor has the family still been allowed to visit Dera Bugti to pay respects on the grave of the Baloch leader even six years after the killing. General Musharraf has blatantly defended the operation against Bugti say “it was 500% justified”. The government has been consistently lying about the circumstances that led to Bugti’s killing. There is inconsistency and inaccuracy in the official account of what actually happened on August 26. For example, on March 14, 2012, General Musharraf claimed in an interview with DawnNews that Bugti “was not killed but instead had committed suicide”. Surprisingly, General Musharraf contradicted himself in his Understanding Balochistan (Part – I) op-ed he wrote for the News International on exactly the same day he had spoken to DawnNews. The General said Bugti had actually died because of a cave collapse. Both of the statements are not convincing. The District Coordination Officer (D.C.O.) of Dera Bugti Abdul Samaad Lasi had publicly displayed Nawab Bugti’s eyeglasses. After all, it is impossible for eyeglasses to remain intact after the collapse of a cave, argue the Nawab’s supporters. The government has not brought forward public evidence of how the Nawab was killed six years after the tragedy struck. Given Islamabad’s lackluster attitude, it is hard to believe that many in the policy world of the federal capital truly care how and why Bugti was killed. The Pakistan People’s Party does not want to publicly admit that it is not interested in investigating the Nawab’s killing but its behavior evidently indicates that the PPP has no intention to punish those who killed the veteran Baloch leader. While the P.P.P. allowed General Musharraf to leave Pakistan with official guard of honor, it has also rewarded the former chief minister of the province, Jam Mohammad Yousaf, by appointing him as a federal minister. Musharraf and Mr. Yousaf are both actually wanted by Pakistani courts for killing Bugti. The Bugti murder case is indeed Balochistan’s collective case. The federal government should understand the sentiments of the people of Balochistan. If justice is dispensed in the Nawab’s case, people’s faith in the government will significantly increase. They will consider it as (the beginning of) justice for the rest of the entire province. Denial of justice to a highly powerful politician, tribal chief and former chief minister promotes pessimism and hopelessness among the rest of the population. For the people of Balochistan, the Nawab leaves a legacy of struggle for one’s rights no matter what it takes to achieve them.
They have no official funding, they have to clear the weeds off their own playing field, and their wicket is made of bricks instead of wood, but the Afghan national women's cricket team is ready to play.
EDITORIAL :Daily TimesPrime Minister (PM) Raja Pervez Ashraf accompanied by PPP leaders and coalition partners appeared before the Supreme Court (SC) in response to a notice issued to him in the NRO implementation case. The hearing that lasted for 60 minutes ended with the PM given three weeks time to consider writing that letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen the graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. The atmosphere in Court Room 2 where the PM presented himself before the five-member bench of the SC hearing the case remained sober and calm. Exercising restraint, both the judiciary and the executive not only showed respect to each other but also agreed to try and find a middle way out of this quandary. The PM had initially sought four to six weeks time to acquaint himself with the legal aspects of the case. Partially granting his request, the court postponed the case until September 18. The government’s respectful and restrained demeanour towards the judiciary has removed the fear of a constitutional deadlock that might have been costly for the government and the democratic system. The PM’s appearance in court had been heavily debated within the PPP leadership and among the coalition partners in the Presidency right till Sunday night. A majority of the ruling coalition wanted the PM to avoid the hearing, including the former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, but President Zardari and the Law Minister Farooq H Naek saw wisdom in the PM’s appearance in court in order to try and find a ‘middle’ way solution. Towards this end, there is speculation that the government might consider writing a letter to the Swiss authorities seeking their stance on the presidential immunity issue, which may go in favour of the government since the Swiss authorities have repeatedly said, including on our media, that the president enjoys immunity under our, Swiss and international law, and in any case a closed case could not be reopened under Swiss law without substantive new evidence, which is not to be had for love or money. A detailed reply from the Swiss authorities along these lines may restrict the SC from proceeding any further in this case, hence bringing the NRO saga to conclusion. Another speculation doing the rounds is that the case is by now time-barred since the limit for reopening the case expired on August 22. However, legal opinion is divided over this expiry issue, since Article 97(b) of the Criminal Procedure Code of Switzerland could lend itself to various interpretations, including a 15-year limit that would not expire till September 2012. Only time will tell what eventual course the government and the judiciary will take to bring the country out of an impasse that is neither doing any good to an embattled country nor setting a healthy precedent for the future. Sending a PM home was not a small thing, especially for a country that has gained its democratic footing after a long, tough and persistent struggle, losing some of its finest leaders in the process. No more is the NRO implementation case seen as a purely legal matter. Even in legal circles hitherto supporting the judiciary to the hilt, opinion is veering towards criticism of the judiciary’s ‘activism’ and judicial restraint is being advised. This is doing little for the stature, respect and dignity of the judiciary. The worst case scenario could have led to anti-democratic forces taking advantage of the situation but the maturity shown by the government and increasingly the restraint creeping into the SC bench’s approach raises hopes that both sides will indeed seek a middle path that does not damage the reputation and standing of either while bringing relief to an already tense and crisis-ridden country.